Dear Prof. Dr. von
Since I've have read a tale from Jorge Luis Borges
(La Biblioteca de
Babel - The Babel's library) I'm a little obssesed
with this question. If
we use an alphabet with a certain amount of
letters and certain
punctuation signs to express ourselfs, and they
are limited, not
Can we say that if we combine all those letters
and signs, we can
obtain as result, all the things that we, as
humans, using writing
language can create.
If that is the
conclusion... What are the implications about our
thinking, about knowledge?
There's a story also about these, expressed in a
better way than I
have done it, writing by Kurd Lasswitz called "Die
(The universal library).
I'm studying in Law School in Chile. My native
language is Spanish
(Castellano) so I apologies for my awful english.
- Dear Mr. Williams,
- Borges is a master at generating interesting
confusions. If you took the
- letters of the alphabet and
randomly combined them (with repetitions)
- into sets of, say, up to twenty letters, I guess
that maybe 0.001%
- percent of them would be words of the language. As
the "things we create"
- more often than not require sentences to be be
expressed, words alone
- don't cover much of what we know. Sentences are
not limited with regard
- to the number of words they can contain and random
- rarely make sense. So the notion of capturing what
we think by the
- combinations of letters or words is nonsense.
- Besides, we can "create" a lot more than we can
express in language; just
- think of your dreams! The notion that our thinking
is tied to language
- is, from my point of view, misguided.
- Best wishes,
- Ernst von Glasersfeld